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Every now and then you unbox a headset and immediately have a sense it’ll be a winner. As the HyperX Cloud Alpha sits at the top of our best gaming headsets list, I had high hopes for the MIX—despite a $200 / £200 entry price. In a nutshell, the Cloud MIX is a wired gaming headset with all the gaming pedigree one would expect from HyperX. But on top of that, it also doubles as a solid pair of everyday Bluetooth headphones.
That initial quality-in-feel effect comes from the MIX’s aluminium frame combined with memory foam ear cushions and leatherette coverings. The ear cups are both pleasant to the touch and also supremely secure and comfortable, and they house the 40mm dual chamber drivers that do the business. The headband puts up some resistance to being adjusted, but in a positive way: it might be a small thing, but it feels very secure once adjusted to the desired size, with no chance of slipping up or down a ratchet.
On the cups themselves, there’s just about the right amount of controls: plus and minus volume buttons, a power button, and a main function button (though this is primarily for when it is used in Bluetooth mode). Moving down there’s an on-wire control box that features a mic mute switch and a volume roller. The cable will plug into your controller, if you use one, or straight into your machine through the normal audio jack, but there’s also a splitter for those who need it.
The MIX’s microphone comes in two parts: there is a detachable boom mic for use when gaming; and a built-in one for when the headset is used via Bluetooth as a ‘normal’ set of cans. It should last up to 20 hours wirelessly according to HyperX—a decent run for a Bluetooth headset—and will have you set for a commute and longer journeys. There is no active noise cancelling tech on the MIX, but the fit is so good that it cancels exterior noise out just by design.
Given the fit, feel and comfort of the Cloud MIX, and the pedigree of HyperX, I was quietly confident as I fired up some games. Spending time in the glorious life-filled ancient Greece of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the detailed sounds of man, beast, and world are clear and crisp.
Thanks to the MIX’s frequency response range of 10Hz to 40Khz, subtle sounds like the creaking of ships’ timbers and the flapping of materials come through brilliantly clear too. The clarity is complemented by a lovely balance in the sound. Nothing is too loud or too quiet in relation to each other and, on the whole, the ‘audio jigsaw’ feels satisfyingly complete. The only slight exception is that sometimes voices are a bit flat and don’t penetrate clearly—a common criticism among gaming headsets.
Changing tack somewhat I turned to the tense and thick atmosphere of 2019’s remake of Resident Evil 2. Again, the balance of sounds is excellent across the board, and the voices fare well, too. Though they do have a bassy edge to them, perhaps due to the game’s overall sound mix. Given that balance and overall quality, all Resi’s audio cues cut through clearly to alert you to doors, keys and items even in the busiest of scenes. The swelling soundtrack is a particular highlight, heightening the atmosphere and immersing you further in the game. An enjoyably terrifying audio experience.
Doom is a stern, and telling, test for headsets and the HyperX shines here, providing me with the best overall game-audio experience. For a pretty long play session, everything in Doom’s audio is presented to me absolutely brilliantly. Firstly, the world noises: distant monster growls, the whirrs, buzzes and clanks of the Mars installation’s machines, audio files and voice overs—particularly Hayden’s gravelly tones—everything is exceptionally well balanced. All of these sounds, with a particular nod to the voice work, feel like they’re being played directly to my brain. Even malfunctioning radios and machinery sound so clear they border on piercing (a good piercing). Complementing this is the MIX’s ability to handle the bass-heavy soundtrack and crunchy weapon noises, all of which are deliciously moreish and so enjoyable.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the positivity continues into multiplayer games too. The Cloud MIX performs well during a few frantic rounds of Apex Legends. The game sounds are clear, and the surround robust enough to help me identify targets and gunfire easily. The general game noises are satisfying and support the pacey shooter audio experience very well. Playing with a real-life friend, the voice of my teammate while traversing Bolivia in Ghost Recon Wildlands is clear as day and the boom mic on the MIX returns the favor in his direction. The surround sound performs its role seamlessly and I can always tell where untagged enemies are shooting from almost from the audio alone.
But there is one particularly noticeable shortcoming: the Cloud MIX does suffer slightly from not having some sort of chat/game audio balance function. Without such a feature, and given the MIX’s overall quality in sound, at times playing Wildlands is just a total cacophony of noise. Everything is presented clearly and loudly to me. At once. At the same volume. On top of that, given the close fit of the headset, it felt like I had to shout just to hear my own voice. I’m baffled as to why headsets at the higher end of the price spectrum like the Cloud MIX don’t have this function.
Lastly, I turned to Hotline Miami. The quality soundtrack punctuated with in-game combat and death noises provides a good test of both game audio and music simultaneously. In brief, the thumping soundtrack is brilliant, while the crunchy sounds of deaths, combat and the weapons are joyously clear and accentuated. This boded well for testing the MIX out as a ‘normal’, everyday pair of cans. After listening to a range of music, away from the likes of Miami’s soundtrack, for several hours, it was clear that the MIX can handle anything very well, and is a very high quality everyday pair of headphones. It might lack the very cutting-edge quality that audio-focused headphones of a similar cost have, but I’d very happily recommend the MIX as an everyday pair of cans. What’s more, whether gaming or commuting, the Cloud MIX is an extremely comfortable headset and never gave me any concern or aches. It’s one of those headsets you’ll forget you’re wearing after a short while—it weighs in at a pleasant 258g.
The HyperX Cloud MIX is a great gaming headset. It’s also a very good pair of headphones. The slight compromise it makes in quality, given that versatility, is done in the right way: trading off a bit of that music-focused sharpness that designated audio headphones have means there’s no hit to gaming performance. As a result, it does a good job of justifying that high price of admittance. The Cloud MIX is easy to recommend, particularly if you’re looking to splash out on a quality gaming headset that can do it all.